Abstract and Keywords
Historically, research has tended to focus on differences in musicians relating to sex, physiology, age, personality, cognitive and learning styles and musical ability. Advances in neuroscience demonstrating the plasticity of the brain, genetic research which acknowledges the importance of the environment in determining behavior and in modifying gene behavior, and ecological and biosocial theoretical frameworks which suggest that individual and environmental characteristics interact in a reiterative manner all suggest that new approaches to considering individuality are needed. The potential for individual differences in musicians is very great, in part because of the diversity of the music profession. This chapter sets out a broad conceptualization of individuality in musicians, stressing the importance of individual interactions within musical and wider environments in determining identity and behavior throughout the lifespan, and highlights ways in which diverse experiences may be transformative, both for an individual and for the environments they influence, directly or indirectly.
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